Magazine article Sunset

The Nature of Baja: Finding Transcendence along the Sea of Cortez

Magazine article Sunset

The Nature of Baja: Finding Transcendence along the Sea of Cortez

Article excerpt

Each night we would watch the moon change its position in the sky, rising above a small island out in the bay. As our stay lengthened, the moon came up later, leaving Jupiter alone in the sky for longer and longer periods to cast its own improbably bright glow upon the Sea of Cortez, a shaft of light extending from the horizon to our beach.

In the morning we would head out from our base camp - La Unica, a wilderness resort about halfway down the east side of Baja California - in a high-bowed panga, boating to rocky reefs just offshore to fish for lunch and dinner. Without fail we would get hits: leopard grouper, yellowtail, barracuda, as well as a pretty fish, elongated with a white belly and yellow highlights, whose name was unknown even to our veteran Cortez pangero, Maleno.

By afternoon the clouds would build, climbing high above the peaks on Isla Angel de la Guarda and massing over the nearly 4,000-foot mountains just behind our bay. Thunder rolled over us, bringing with it only a brief, scattered drizzle that barely roused those of us taking our siestas in gently swaying hammocks.

For all the predictable rhythms at La Unica, there was always some variation: a morning clamming expedition, harvesting gloriously red pithaya fruit off organpipe cactus, early evening runs along a white sand beach, and a dorado fishing trip that featured just about everything, if not finally dorado.

If you could drive to La Unica, it would be a good 13 hours from San Diego. But no roads lead to this spot. It's accessible only via a two-hour flight and a 45-minute panga ride from the nearest town, Bahia de los Angeles.

The flight and boat ride are part of the vacation package put together by Baja AirVentures, which also operates the wilderness resort at La Unica.

La Unica, however, is definitely more wilderness than resort.

Strung out along the curving bay are 12 simple shacks with palm-frond roofs, as well as a giant palapa in the center that serves as dining room, library, and lounge. …

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